05 September 2011


If I delay much longer my promised blogpost containing Brent Mashburn's coffee secrets, the first anniversary of the promise will be upon us.

First, a reprise of the essentials of my earlier post about coffee. I recommend a (short) latte made with 1+ ounce (30 - 40 ml.) of brewed espresso and 2 ounces (60 ml.) of heated (not boiled) whole milk, sweetened with a single packet of Sugar in the Raw (optional). Recommended methods for brewing espresso: (a) a Nespresso coffee maker, using a capsule of 'Ristretto'; or (b) a 'moka' espresso makerusing illy beans you grind yourself. Let me add that, if you want to froth the milk, you can get an inexpensive frother from IKEA for about two dollars U.S., plus postage if you're ordering through Amazon and not picking it up in person at an IKEA store.

Brent Mashburn, who is known to the public as an investment research analyst and research engineer (his blog is
Luminous Logic), also happens to have forgotten more about coffee than I, at least, will ever know. He readily shared his recipe for 'skinny' cappuccino when I asked for it last year, and gave me permission to pass it along to you. Here goes, with thanks to Brent and apologies to you for the delay.

Brent prepares the coffee component using a Nespresso machine and capsules. His personal choice of capsule (like mine) is 'Ristretto'; his wife's is 'Arpeggio'. They use the larger button on the Nespresso machine, which dispenses a larger quantity of liquid. They prepare the milk using a Nespresso Aeroccino frother and organic fat-free milk (fat-free being the key to better frothing). 'Pour the milk into the Aeroccino until it just barely covers the spinning frother part on the bottom'--about 3.5 ounces (100+ ml.). 'The o
nly other secret is to dump in the milk clumsily as soon as the Aeroccino cuts off.  That way it's still a foamy mixture and "dumping" it in achieves the same effect as if you'd stirred it in--it all mixes well.' (If you delay adding the foamed milk to the coffee component, the milk and froth tend to separate, and blending and clean-up are more difficult.)

I've also been keeping you waiting for a few lines about the connection between Balzac and coffee--but you may know all about it already. He had a passion for coffee that even Brent Mashburn and I could never match; witness the fact that there are few or no coffee merchants or cafés named Mashburn's or Hulbert's and so many named for Balzac. If you're feeling brave you can explore the extent of his coffee addiction at the website The Old Foodie--and even there what you'll find is mostly limited to Balzac's public admissions....


jlle said...

I think I own a postcard with the image of Balzac's cafetiere from the Musee Carnavalet.

James Hulbert said...

I'm envious. But perhaps it's better if you avoid sending me a scan of it--I think I'm too old to get an impulse tattoo....